CARDINALS PREPARE FOR TOMORROW'S CONSISTORY
Vatican City, 17 February 2012 (VIS) - This morning, in preparation for tomorrow's consistory, the members of the College of Cardinals and the new cardinals-elect met in the Vatican's New Synod Hall for a day of reflection and prayer, presided by the Holy Father. Benedict XVI had called the day at the beginning of this month.
According to a communique made public today by the Holy See Press Office, the Day began with the celebration of Lauds, followed by an introductory address by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals. The main theme of the day - "the announcement of the Gospel today, between 'missio ad gentes' and new evangelisation" - was introduced with a long talk by one of the cardinals-designate: Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York. He was followed by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, who delivered a report on the forthcoming Year of Faith, and its significance in the light of the Apostolic Letter 'Porta fidei'. He also outlined a series of initiatives for the Year, currently being studied by various dicasteries.
The participants in the day of reflection and prayer then rose to speak and the morning session concluded with the praying of the Angelus guided by the Holy Father. The meeting will continue this afternoon, following the celebration of Vespers at 5 p.m.
POPE'S SADNESS AT THE FIRE IN THE PRISON OF COMAYAGUA
Vatican City, 17 February 2012 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. has sent a telegram, in the name of the Holy Father, to Bishop Roberto Camilleri O.F.M. of Comayagua, Honduras, for the fire which broke out in the city prison on 15 February, causing the deaths of 355 people and injuring scores of others. The text of the telegram is given below:
"His Holiness Benedict XVI, deeply saddened by the painful news of the conflagration in the 'Granja Penal' of Comayagua, which caused so many victims, raises fervent prayers to the Almighty for the eternal repose of the dead. At the same time, I ask Your Excellency to communicate the Pope's deepest condolences to the families of the deceased, accompanied by assurances of his spiritual closeness and his hope that those injured in this lamentable incident will make a speedy and complete recovery. With these sentiments the Supreme Pontiff, while invoking the loving protect of Our Lady of Suyapa, affectionately imparts the comfort on an apostolic blessing as a sign of consolation and hope at this time of distress. Giving assurances of my own prayers for everyone affected by the tragedy, I take this opportunity to assure you of my fraternal affection".
REGULATING THE ARMS TRADE AND "DISARMING" THE ILLICIT MARKET
Vatican City, 17 February 2012 (VIS) - On 13 February Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, participated in the Fourth Session of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
"With other States and the various actors of the international community, the Holy See shares the view that the principal objective of the Treaty should not be merely the regulation of the conventional arms trade but should be, above all, the disarming of the international illicit market", said the archbishop speaking English.
"An unregulated and non-transparent arms trade due to the absence on the international level of effective monitoring systems causes a series of humanitarian consequences: integral human development is retarded, the risk of instability and conflict is heightened, the process of peace is placed at risk and the spread of a culture of violence and criminality is facilitated. Responsible action, shared by all the members of the international community, is necessary to resolve such problematic realities. This includes States and international organisations, NGOs and the private sector".
"The international community requires a strong, effective and credible legal instrument that is capable of regulating and improving transparency in the trade of conventional arms and munitions, including the trading and licensing of technologies for their production".
As a guarantee of this, Archbishop Chullikatt identified five aspects to be taken into consideration:
"(1) The scope of the ATT should be broad, comprising not solely the seven categories of arms which the UN Register of Conventional Arms considers, but also small arms and light weapons, together with their relevant munitions".
"(2) The criteria for application of the Treaty must maintain reference to human rights, humanitarian law and development. These are the three areas in which the impact of the illicit market in arms is particularly pernicious".
"(3) The capacity for the success of the Treaty will depend also on its ability to promote and reinforce international cooperation and assistance between States".
"(4) Provisions relating to assistance for victims must be maintained and, if possible, strengthened, giving attention also to the prevention of illicit arms proliferation, by reducing the demand for arms which often feeds the illicit market. It seems opportune, from this perspective, then, to introduce references in the Treaty to educative processes and public awareness programmes".
"(5) Mechanisms for treaty review and updating need to be strong and credible, capable of quickly incorporating new developments in the subject matter of the ATT, which must remain open to future technological developments".